Anyone who has watched soccer games on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass this season will have noticed how crisp and detailed the picture quality is, for the most part. So much so that it’s starting to make broadcasts of soccer games on other streaming services look inferior.
While not quite the same, it does remind me a lot of the change from SD to HD more than a decade ago. After seeing the first soccer games in HD back then, games in SD felt like we were going back in time. Even nowadays, I come across a broadcast once in a while in SD. The difference in picture quality is so dramatic.
In a plus for both MLS and Apple, MLS Season Pass‘ picture quality is a game changer. It makes the viewing experience more pleasurable. Sure, there are still tweaks that need to made to the service as a whole. However, there’s no doubt that what you see is of vastly greater quality than what we had previously.
MLS deserves praise for improved production
Part of the enhanced experience is due to the enormous improvement in production. Previously, Major League Soccer hired a ragtag team of regional sports networks to produce games. At the same time, they had FOX Sports, ESPN and Univision producing games too. As a result, the overall viewing experience was clumsy. There was little to no consistency in the production of MLS games.
Now, that has changed completely. IMG, a worldwide leader in sports production (used by the Premier League for its 24/7 TV channel), produces all of the games. The TV camera operators have improved a lot, too. No longer do we see the issues of camera operators zooming in too close on player shots, like they’re used to doing on traditional American sports.
The best thing that MLS could have done was hiring IMG.
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Who comes close? Recently, Peacock TV executives told World Soccer Talk that the streaming service will stream Premier League games in 4K in 2023. Other than that, to be fair, no other streaming service comes close to the picture quality of MLS Season Pass.
MLS Season Pass picture quality: The difference is crystal clear
Games broadcasted on MLS Season Pass stream in 1080p. While it’s not 4K, it sure looks very close to it. However, tech website Digital Trends recently discussed the differences between sporting events being broadcasted in 4K compared to 1080p. They claim that airing television shows or movies in 4K is significantly easier and cheaper than broadcasting live sports in this format.
Along with streaming in 1080p, MLS matches on Apple will include Dolby 5.1 audio. This is essentially surround sound, as the 5 in 5.1 stands for the amount of speakers needed for a home theater experience. Viewers will need the five-speaker setup to get full surround sound. Although, it is obviously not necessary to enjoy MLS.
Guide to Major League Soccer
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